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The Pit Stop


October 12, 2009 12:33 AM

More fireworks in California....

The Sprint Cup series is back to California again for the second time this year for the Pepsi 500.  For the first time this year though it was Denny Hamlin winning a poll for a race.

Mark Martin said that he has a good car today. "Pretty optimistic about today," said Jeff Gordon.  Jimmie Johnson stated that tires are going to be important today.  Juan Pablo Montoya sated that his Target Chevrolet keeps doing good.  Greg Biffle said that he could not get his car to accept his Kansas setup.   

"Don't want to jeopardize myself," said Kyle Busch.

Kyle Busch who did not finish the race yesterday due to the flu is not feeling any better and David Gilliland, a start and park driver today, has been tapped as his replacement.

Denny Hamlin started by leading the race and then Jimmie Johnson took over the lead of the race on lap 11.  Then Juan Pablo Montoya was getting faster and was able to get the lead on lap 25.

Green flag racing continued and then on lap 39 the first round of green flag pit stops started.  During this round of pit stops Kyle Busch stayed in his car.  Jimmie Johnson had the lead of the race after pit stops were over.  Around lap 44 it was a battle for the lead of the race and Juan took the lead back.

The first caution finally came out on lap 60for Jamie McMurray and his blown tire.  This time the driver change occurred and David was barely able to stay on the lead lap.  Juan was able to win the race off pit road when the leaders came in.

After the green flag dropped Denny Hamlin won the race top first place.  In a couple of laps Mark Martin had the lead, but at lap 74 it was Juan Pablo Montoya in the lead of the race again.  

The second caution came on lap 81 for Ryan Newman and his blown tire.  The leaders pitted and Martin Truex Jr. wins the race off pit road by only taking two tires.  

This led to another good green flag run with Juan Pablo Montoya leading some laps until Jimmie Johnson and his car got faster and took the lead on lap 115.  The third caution popped out lap 117 for debris on the racetrack.

Denny Hamlin won the race off pit road, but when the race restarted Jeff Gordon won the race to first place.  It did not last long and Denny Hamlin had the lead for a couple laps and then Jimmie Johnson started to lead and busted out a five second plus lead on the field.  Juan slowly moved his way back into second place.

Green flag pit stops started around lap 159. After the pit stops ended it was Jimmie in the lead again by over seven seconds to Juan Pablo Montoya.  Tony Stewart did get caught for speeding and wound up going a lap down.

As more green flag laps continued Jimmie maintained around a 7 second lead over Juan Pablo Montoya.  Jimmie and his lead went to bust on lap 185 for the second debris caution on the day.

Denny Hamlin won the race off pit road with Juan Pablo Montoya coming out in second and Jimmie Johnson in third.  The green flag drops and Denny Hamlin who went too quickly to get to the bottom wound up hitting the Juan Pablo car sending him spinning out.  "Bad, mistake," said Denny Hamlin.

The green flag dropped again and Jimmie Johnson took the lead of the race.  As the green flag laps continued he started to increase his lead more and with 40 laps left it was around 2 seconds.

Around 25 laps to go and Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo were fighting for second.  Jeff though went down pit road with 24 laps left for service.  Mark Martin and a whole host of other cars came down on the next lap.  Tony Stewart then started to lead a few laps and finally came down with 17 laps left.

The caution finally came out for debris with 15 laps left. After the green flag dropped Jeff Gordon got the race lead.  In the back it got four-wide for a couple of seconds, but no caution came out.  Then with 11 laps left it was Kurt Busch getting really loose which causes him to wind up hitting Kasey Kahne who spins out and takes Greg Biffle with him.

Green flag racing did not last long again and a major wreck occurs with six laps left and brought out the red flag.  Cars involved included Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, A.J. Allmendinger, Reed Sorenson, Elliott Sadler, and Marcos Ambrose.

"We just struggled all day," said A.J. Allmendinger.  Reed Sorenson stated all he could see was cars hitting the wall.

After a lengthy cleanup the green flag dropped with three laps left.   Jimmie Johnson got the lead and went on to win the race. Juan Pablo tried to get to second on the last lap, but it did not work.

Jimmie Johnson stated it was a solid day all along.

"No one could seem to do anything with the 48," said Jeff Gordon.

"Really good when it was cloudy," said Juan Pablo Montoya.

"We were real close," said Mark Martin. "Great adjustments."

Tony Stewart stated that it took us 6 to 8 laps to get going.

After the end of the race it was Jimmie Johnson taking the lead in the points by 12 over Mark Martin.  Juan Pablo Montoya is now 58 points back in third place.

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